EPO: Stuff 'n Fluff: Round 2 - 1200 Words

Published Mar 8, 2023, 2:41:38 AM UTC | Last updated Mar 8, 2023, 2:41:38 AM | Total Chapters 1

Story Summary


While some less attentive thinkers may believe that offensive capability is the sole expression of strength, we at the Academic Collective are in tune with many angles of power. In this challenge, you and your opponent will each be issued three delicate plush toys. The winner will be the competitor who destroys all of their opponents' plushies while protecting at least one of their own. Protect your plushies from your opponent while destroying theirs. You must depict your character, your opponent, and at least the remnants of at least one plushie.

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Chapter 1: Round 2 - 1200 Words

William’s ears flattened against his head. The ungodly squeal of joy that came out of his opponent’s gob at the sight of the overstuffed frog plush in her pile proved unpleasant. As she gave it a squeeze, he looked down at his own collection; a fox, a wolf, and a plush copy of Viggo. 

The real raven pecked at the imposter’s black button eyes with great curiosity. 

He gazed at the half-orc’s other two stuffed toys, wondering how a pinecone and a chicken played into her life.

“Miss Trom, please… I need to know if you understand the rules,” the hooded figure at the edge of the battlefield pleaded, finally recovering from the sonic disruption. 

“Protect yours, destroy theirs,” the combatant nodded, voice muffled as she buried her face in froggy fluff. “Simple.” 

“If there are no questions…” the proctor raised their hand to signal, “then-” 

“Oh wait!” 

The delegate dropped their hand with an exasperated sigh as William’s competitor bounded across the field. 

“I didn’t actually get to say hello… Paiko and I already knew each other, but it’s nice to meet new people!” the half-orc gabbed, sticking out an exuberant hand. “Call me Apirka. Miss Trom’s too formal for me.” 

“Is this really the time?” the hooded figure huffed, but the half-orc stifled a giggle. 

“What can I call you?” 

William locked gazes with the Academic Collective representative, who gestured for him to wrap it up.

“William,” he said, grasping her hand.

“Do you have a favorite plush?” she asked. “I can try and do as little damage as possible to that one.”

“... Probably the raven, but I don’t plan to let you touch a single one,” he countered, the edges of his mouth twitching into a sly grin. Damn… what an infectious attitude. “So you’d better be ready, Apirka.” 

“... If you two don’t mind,” the officiant called with a consternated smile, “we would like to get started while today is still called today!” 

William looked down at his charges while his opponent slunk back across the arena. While Viggo healing from the last match put William’s heart at ease, the master wanted to give his familiar more time before throwing him back into combat. Therefore, with only minimal help, it was better to finish this quickly, with minimal energy waste. 

He eased his dagger out of its sheath and slipped it behind his arm, holding it loosely. William needed to show the Academic Collective his mental flexibility, and earn their respect to learn about them.

The representative held up his hand, and the folf’s ears shot forward, eye transfixed on his opponent as the young woman grew still, holding the frog in her arms as the other two laid bare on the ground. 

The representative of the Academic Collective dropped his arm. 

William’s dagger sizzled through the air. The chicken lost its head, and the pinecone flopped, torn in twain in a mound of plushie gore. 

Now for-


With a hellish shriek, a plume of fluff exploded from his pile, something hard and rounded smacking against the folf’s tender ankle. He yelped. Viggo laughed. 

He cast a quick eye on the damage. Wolf disemboweled. Fox pieces scattered across the floor. Ice trickled down his spine. 

He seized the corvid plush, tucked it into his belt and launched himself as the half-orc lunged across the floor, grabbing at where the stuffed animal had been. Hopping over an olive-green blur aimed at his legs, William lashed out, his bare foot striking earth as his opponent jetted backwards like a crayfish. A blast of air punched the folf in his chest. He tottered, but regained his balance, turning his glinting eye on Apirka. 

Feet hovering just off of the floor, the girl pulled the edges of her cloak tighter, tucking the frog against her back like a baby in a sling, compressing it nearly flat before tying the scarlet wool around her waist. Then, noting his stare, she rocketed into the sun. 

William flinched. His vision turned blue and blurry as he shielded his eye. Where had she-

Turn! A sting lanced through his arm as his body reacted to the shrill the warrior hadn’t realized he heard. Plush protected, the folf looked down at his closed fist. A peculiar orb strained against his grip.

Unsuccessful, it fell still. The shrieking stopped. 

He paused to inspect it, but something stole his sunlight and cast a shadow on…

Moving automatically, William dodged the incoming half-orc as she hit the ground at his feet, swiping at his waistband. 

He whistled. Mid-flinch, the dagger tore a crimson slash in the half-orc’s cheek. Apirka darted backwards again, cupping her face. 

Gods, that wasn’t supposed to hit her at all! 

He pulled his cape over his arm and pursued, piercing his skin with his claws and tracing the blood over the fabric, hidden from her sight. The sigils William created glowed as he drew a merry tune from his pursed muzzle, witch ancestry boiling in his veins.

Then, he tossed the cloak into the air. 


Before Apirka consolidated her thoughts, Viggo grabbed the edge of the cloak in his talons and enshrouded her. The fabric contracted on impact, coiling around the half-orc’s face and neck like a constricting serpent. She pitched and tore at it, muffled screams barely reaching the folf’s ears. The warrior wasted no time, reangling his dagger as Apirka struggled, then sent it to finish the job. 

He sent it through the back of her cloak.  

A spray of red came out the other side.

No fluff?

His head snapped around. 

She must have-

Squinting back into the light, he spied the frog hanging in the air, barely visible, backlit by midday sun. 


He watched in disbelief as the enchanted cloak fell asunder, sigils ripped one from another. From between the tattered edges, gruesome crimson eyes glinted back where tender violets once lived. 

He took a step back, but the opposition was on him. 

Grabbing William’s muzzle and holding it closed in one hand, Apirka pinched his tongue between his molars as her momentum sent them tumbling head over heels. He felt the raven plush come loose and tried to grab it in a mad scrabble, claws digging into the pavestones of the ring as they skidded away. 

Ever the experienced warrior, he landed on top. But, with her hand still holding his face, his magic was limited. 

No matter.

Hands free, he pummeled her with a flurry of blows. Some landed, others she blocked with her one free arm, but those defiant crimson eyes were elsewhere.

Suddenly, the warrior’s weight shifted, torso pitching back as his opponent rocketed off, back scraping the pavestones and leaving the foul stink of burnt flesh.

Before the folf caught his breath, Apirka seized the raven plush and bit into its head, a gout of fluff pouring out as she tore it limb from limb like a dog. 

William, the proctor, and Viggo shared a look as the mildly deranged lass let out a mad cackle, ignoring the rash on her arm, spewing fluff. 

“It… might be wise to give her a moment to cool off,” the officiant murmured. 

The folf simply nodded. 


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  • Sep 18, 2023, 5:29:43 AM UTC
    Both the artwork and the story for this entry were such a delight to me. It is so hard to turn the perspective to be from the POV of a character which is not yours. You did an admirable job.
    • Sep 20, 2023, 10:57:17 PM UTC
      Thank you! I always have great fun with that, because it tends to make my opponent really happy, especially if it's well-done. It feels less like a competition and more like making character fanart.
  • Mar 15, 2023, 11:45:05 PM UTC
    Ahh you drew a picture too, a double treat! ^v^

    I find it interesting that you chose to write it from William's perspective - it makes Apirka's actions seem more surprising since we don't know what's going through her mind (especially at the end... wonder how to describe what she's thinking there, hahaa). Fun stuff, nice work Big Smile
    • Mar 19, 2023, 3:11:17 AM UTC
      Describe what she's thinking... Probably something like, "GET IT GET IT GET IT GET IT GET IT!!!" Or something. XDD No thoughts, head empty. Just 'Pirka.
    • Mar 20, 2023, 6:45:21 PM UTC
      Ye! >w< I couldn't help myself... it felt naked without a picture.

      Is this a good thing, though? XDD I'm sorry, my brain's just, "BUT DID IT MAKE SENSE, SHIRO?! DOES SKITTLES LOVE IT?!?!" It's very aggressive with me. XP
      • Mar 21, 2023, 1:27:04 AM UTC
        Hahaa Pirka's brain is definitely how my brain sounds when I'm on an adrenaline rush XD

        It is absolutely a good thing!! ^v^ (And my brain does that too, just yelling thoughts at me when I'm trying to calmly assess a statement hehh-- )
        • Mar 28, 2023, 6:36:40 PM UTC
          Braimb go AAAAAAA XDD

          But thank you. ^w^ I appreciate you addressing my brain's goofiness.